Saturday, 13 October 2012


The leaves on the trees are turning golden and beginning to fall. The hedgerows are full of red berries of hawthorn, rose hips, rowan and white beam. We collected up the remaining onions from where they were drying on greenhouse shelves, ready for taking home. A few were soft and headed for the compost bin, but the crop is far better than I realised. Now stored in the cool, dark cupboard at home they look as good as last year, which was a good year.

The leeks on the plot are slowly fattening up. We might have been tempted to take a few by now in previous years, but they have been so small that we have waited. I think they will be fine and a good number too. I hope their slow growth, even slower than most years, will make them even tastier.

Our first proper try at growing broccoli is looking good, though they do seem to have some white fly. The plants are looking sturdy and growing taller. They are protected by frames and netting to keep the pigeons off, who, I'm told, like broccoli. No sign yet of any spears to take, but that might not be until January or February.

The asparagus was yellowing so it all got cut back to the ground, before any storms rock the roots and cause damage. Monty Don suggests covering the ground with compost to feed the plants for next season, which I will do, compost topped up with blood, fish and bonemeal. Mind you, Monty Don suggests covering everything with compost or digging compost into everywhere, which would be nice but our compost heap doesn't make enough for a fraction of what we would need. 

Jean sowed some spinach which grew slowly. We decided to plant it at home in tubs to make it easier to look after and pick. We'll see how that goes.

We are still feeding poison to the rats, who dutifully consume it. One dead rat has turned up on Geoff's plot, but still they go on. I think we need to use a different tactic.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Greedy rats

I have now used a full tub of rat poison and started the next one. Each time the suggested dose of poison has gone completely. When I put down a tray with some in, the tray disappeared too. I feel like I'm feeding them rather than poisoning them. Something, maybe the rats, ate the last of our sweetcorn, so the stalks got pulled up and the patch dug over. I'm beginning to wonder if the rats are also under the shed, so rat proofing the spaces around it with wire netting or bricks might be on the cards. I wish I'd thought to do it when we put the shed up - it would have been much easier. I'm also wondering about the best way to stop creatures burrowing into the bank below the hedge. That really lies outside of our plot in the adjoining field, but a bit of netting might benefit us and the farmer.

This allotment is beginning to feel like a battlefield and a minor civil engineering site this year. I hope we get back to better times next year.